Skip to main content
A Flexible Solvolysis Experiment for the Undergraduate Organic Laboratory
Journal of Chemical Education (2009)
  • John J. Esteb, Butler University
  • John R. Magers
  • LuAnne McNulty
  • Paul Morgan
  • Kathryn Tindell
  • Anne M. Wilson

A simple SN1 reaction is presented that uses bromotriphenylmethane and a range of oxygen-based nucleophiles including water and various alcohols. This procedure represents a process that affords easy isolation of solid products. Typical student yields ranged from 17–128% with the average yield of 50%. Students obtained products with a melting point range of 140 to 164 °C. This procedure offers multiple ways to adapt this experiment from a straight solvolysis reaction to a discovery-based experiment that explores the effect of nucleophile (for a more advanced group) or the method of product isolation. Note: Link is to the article in a subscription database available to users affiliated with Butler University. Appropriate login information will be required for access. Users not affiliated with Butler University should contact their local librarian for assistance in locating a copy of this article.

Publication Date
Citation Information
John J. Esteb, John R. Magers, LuAnne McNulty, Paul Morgan, et al.. "A Flexible Solvolysis Experiment for the Undergraduate Organic Laboratory" Journal of Chemical Education Vol. 86 (2009)
Available at: